Natural Resources and Energy Paper

Topics: Forest, Rainforest, Tropical rainforest Pages: 5 (1149 words) Published: February 23, 2015
Natural Resources and Energy Paper
The rainforest is Earth’s oldest living ecosystem. Although they only span 6% of the surface of the Earth, rainforests contain more than half of the world’s plant and animal species. The amount of species that live in the rainforest is greater than 30 million plants and animals. In addition to plants and animals, nearly 50,000,000 tribal people live in the world’s rainforests. They depend on the rainforests to provide them with food and shelter. The rainforest has an extremely unique climate. It is a very humid and hot climate. This requires the species that dwell there to adapt and adjust to their surroundings. The rainforest also receives a high amount of rainfall every year. The rainforest is comprised of four layers. The first layer, the emergent layer, contains trees that tower two hundred feet tall. This layer contains the most sunlight, and therefore, birds, monkeys, and flying insects can be found here. The second layer, the canopy layer, provides a cover for the bottom two layers. This layer has the greatest food source and its inhabitants include some birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The third layer, the understory layer, is very dimly lit. The sunlight has a hard time reaching this layer; therefore, the trees and shrubs are much smaller than the above layers. This layer contains the most animals, including jaguars and leopards. The final layer is the forest floor. It is the darkest layer and has very few inhabitants. Its main occupant is the anteater. Things decay very quickly on the forest floor because there is no sunlight. The rainforest provides us with many crucial parts of our lives, including food and medicine; however, humans have played a destructive role in maintaining this ecosystem.

Over the past 50 years, most of the rainforest has been destroyed. Vast areas of the rainforest are being cut down, to remove a few logs, along with the rainforest being destroyed at double the rate of all previous predictions. Agricultural use of some rainforest land proves to be a failure due to the nutrient deficient, acidic soils of these forests. However, many rainforests in South America have been burned down to make way for cattle growth, which commercial agricultural gain are carried out on rainforest lands. Much, of the citrus fruit, cereals and pulses that are brought from tropical countries where rainforest at one point in time was in good standing. The forest is then cut down to make way for plantation where foods such as bananas, palm oil, cane sugar, and coffee are grown. The cattle ranching, soil will not supply crops for much longer, and after a few years farming workers will have to cut down more rainforest for new plantations.

onservation of natural forest ecosystems is the main function of most protected forest areas and the term "protected area" encompasses a vast variety of approaches for the management of natural and semi-natural forest types. Protected forest areas currently cover only 5% of the tropical forest area and the rate of growth in protected forest areas has declined in recent years due to increased land use pressure. However, national parks and forest reserves are no longer the only method that can be used for the conservation of biological diversity. A possible alternative is multiple use forest management, which incorporates harvesting of forest products within a framework of sustainable management that aims at both conserving biodiversity and supplying benefits to local people and the national economy.

The growing human population has had a negative impact on the preservation of the rainforests. Resources have been lost and species have been harmed or removed from their environments because of the human population impact. Urban populations of people have overlooked the amount of people that live in the rainforest. They have forgotten that people actually make their homes in this ecosystem. The massive amount...

References: Learning about rainforests . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.srl.caltech.edu/personnel/krubal/rainforest/Edit560s6/www/preserve.html
http://www.srl.caltech.edu/personnel/krubal/rainforest/Edit560s6/www/preserve.html
rom http://rainforests.mongabay.com
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Willkie, M., Holmgren, P., &castenada, F. (2003). Forest Management Working paper. Forestry Department, (), . Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/forestry/6417-0905522127db12a324c6991d0a53571fa.p
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